Monday, May 2, 2016

Delta Century (metric)

A couple of months ago, Nim decided she wanted to ride the Delta Century.  This is a flat ride out of Lodi that we have done before on the tandem, but now that she is big, she wanted to see if she could do it under her own power.  Yay kid.  We signed her up to do the metric century route (nominally 100km, but really a bit more than that at 64.3 miles).  I rode with her; Chad did the full (non-metric) century route.

Here's the route:
Completely flat route meandering along interesting little levee roads next to the Sacramento River.

The start is just far enough from the house to be a bit of a drive, but not so far as to require a hotel room the night before, if you don't mind getting up early.  We packed up the truck the night before and left the house at 4:30am (ouch).  Smart kid slept in the car.  We wanted to start the ride relatively early, as it was forecast to be 88 degrees and somewhat windy in the afternoon.  Clearly, we wanted to be done before those conditions hit.

Our routes overlapped at the beginning, but we let Chad go on ahead from pretty early on.  Nim and I were wondering the whole day who would finish first, as it was quite plausible and would be most impressive if he rode the extra forty miles in the same total time.  I suspect the race aspect motivated Nim to ride faster than she might have otherwise :)

Very quickly, Nim and I found ourselves in a little line with two other guys.  She took a turn pulling, then I did, and then one of the other guys pulled to the front.  He sped up little by little, but I could tell from Nim's shadow behind me that she was keeping up, no problem, so we tootled along that section at 16-17 mph.  Very surprising for the kid to be averaging that (but we are not used to flat riding!)

It couldn't last.  The moment of doom came when I felt something hit my back wheel and heard crashing in the bushes behind me.  I looked back to see what manner of critter it was, and heard the kiddo's voice "Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!"  Oh, the critter was my kiddo.  Apparently, she was enjoying whooshing along in the line of bikes so much that she let her mind wander, let her front wheel touch my back wheel, and veered off the edge of the road and down the embankment into the bushes.  Ooops.  Chad later teased her about her "Flanders dismount".

By the time I got myself turned around and back to the spot where she crashed, one of the guys with us had fished her bike out of the tree and Nim had gotten herself upright and started to complain that the plants were stinky.  Good -- if that is the worst complaint after a crash, it can't be that bad.  I climbed down the edge enough to pull her up out of the weeds, checked her out for injuries, and put the chain back on her bike.  Did she want to sit and recover?  "No, Mom, let's just get going!"

Google Streetview of the crash site.  She went down into the hole between the weeds and the bushy tree thing on the right and had a thankfully cushioned landing.  Even if the plants were stinky.

I looked at the bike computer data later.  The total time for climbing up out of the bushes, crash recovery, and bike check?  Seven minutes. I suspect most adults would take longer.

We slowed down a bit after that, to a more sedate 12-13 mph for the rest of the ride.  At 20 miles there was a rest stop with muffins, and about five miles after that, we had to wait for the ferry.

What other ride gives you the chance to see 100 cyclists stuffed onto a miniature river ferry?  Not any that I can think of...

Waiting for the ferry

Us (taken by another friendly cyclist)

After the ferry ride, we (ok, mostly me) started fantasizing about gooey chocolate chip cookies.  Imagine my surprise when the kiddo greeted me on my way out of the potty hut at the next rest stop with a chocolate chip cookie that she found for me.  Good kid, still cheerful after one crash, one ferry, and forty miles.

Inevitably, tiredness starts to creep in.  After the third and last rest stop, there was some reluctance to get up from the nice shady table, a few complaints about deflation of one's backside, and desire to be done.  No way to be done without riding though, right?  And we still need to try to beat Chad back to the finish.   Zoom goes the kid.

Tired goes the kid.  She gamely slogged through until about two miles from the end before any real griping started.  Something about it now being hot enough that the water in the water bottle seemed to warm to be wet. What is a mom to do???  I squirted her with my bottle.  Seemed to work, as she giggled a little and kept riding.

Gripe, grip, slog, squirt, gripe gripe, gripe, slog, slog, turn onto last dirt driveway, sprint!!!!!  She finished strong, and the whole thing was faster than I had predicted.  We ascertained that Chad didn't beat us, and she promptly asked for her pillow and sank into a nap.  My kind offers to get her something to eat or drink were grumpily rebuffed; a nap was clearly more important.

About 5 minutes later, I got a text from Chad: " Five miles from finish, but bonking".  Apparently the food stops on the long route weren't spaced out all that well.  He rolled in about 20 minutes later; we ate, rested, and enjoyed tasting wine from the winery that hosted the start/finish before heading home.  Successful and fun day for all :)

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